How do I Choose the Best Pantry System?

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  • Written By: Jeri Sullivan
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Image By: Unskinny Boppy
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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A successful pantry system is designed around the space available, number of people in the household, and the types of food eaten. A pantry may be a closet, shelf or separate room and is used to store non-perishable food items. The different types of pantry systems include shelves, drawers, cabinets, and hanging racks.

Shelves are the most common type of pantry system. The typical shelving pantry design has narrow shelves from floor to ceiling where food is stored. Due to the weight of many canned goods, the shelves should be braced every 8 to 10 inches so they do not sag in the middle. An open shelving pantry system works well for households that consume a lot of canned goods or seldom shop and need lots of space to store items for extended periods of time.

Another type of pantry system is drawers which may be a combination of shelves and drawers. The different types of drawer systems include baskets, wooden pull-outs, and metal rolling drawers. The drawers are often installed in various heights to accommodate different size products. Using pull-out drawers allow loose produce to be easily stored. Pull-out drawers also work well in households that need room for bulky items that would not fit on narrow open shelves.


Cabinets are another form of pantry system and are very similar to the traditional kitchen cabinets. Within each cabinet there may be some open shelving and some pull-out drawers and the doors keep everything out of sight when not in use. Some pantries may be actually incorporated into the kitchen area and have the same style, so having a pantry system that matches the rest of the cabinetry keeps the style consistent. If a separate pantry is not designed into the house, some homeowners put a cabinet in other rooms such as the mud room or garage to store their food products.

The hanging rack pantry system is less common and used primarily for storing items to dry. A pot rack style metal or wooden ring with a grid in the middle is attached to the ceiling. Hooks are hung from the middle grid and along the sides. Bags of produce such as potatoes or onions are hung via the hooks to allow air to circulate and prevent them from spoiling. This pantry system method is also used to hang fresh herbs to dry before storing permanently.


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